St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

1,057 Reviews
St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 09-27-2002

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Reviews: 1,057 | Ratings: 2,412
Photo of kmpitz2
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a murkey brown color wtiha nice 2 finger head that falls to thickly coat the beer. The nose is sweet raisiney fruity. Very mellow and pretty much what I was hoping to smell. There is some alcohol in there as well, but just as an afterthought. The flavor is very nice. A smooth raisiney character is put alongside a slightly roasted character, not quite chocolatey, but just a hint of roasted. What a nice nice beer. The feel is right at moderate thickess, but as smooth as a beer has ever been. This could make a run at the 12 for my favorite beer from these people. I do recommend this one.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours off brown, slight tinge of dark red, with tan head.

Nose is among the best. Belgian yeast is working its magic and casting off a spiced breadiness that is intoxicating. Also present is cinnamon, ginger, and yummy musty cheeses, perhaps with old musty cave aromas. I love it.

Palate is beautifully creamy bodied - the bubbles are smaller, so it seems. Baked brown bread, soft holiday spices, and a finish that is semi-sweet and oh so appetizing for the next sip.

Amazing beer. One of the best.

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Photo of turnstile
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle, served at the suggested temperature.

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany brown with a huge foamy tan head. The yeast is kicked up in the pour and nicely clouds the brew.

Smell: The aroma is of a strong malt character with ripe plum and grape notes. The second time around cinnamon and brown sugar/brown bread aromas appear to be present owing largely to the yeast.

Taste: Sweet. Upfront is brown sugar and toasted malt, following is a sweet/sour hint of red grapes, and finishing is a hint of alcohol. A sticky/sweet note of honey hangs around afterward.

Mouthfeel: A dense, sticky body with light-medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a serious brew. With a decent ABV and a thick body, it makes a nice dessert beer or something with which to end the evening. Anyone can approach this dubbel; it's only mildly bitter (if at all) and has plenty of familiar aromas..

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Definately a nice looking brew. Bright mahogony red color with energetic carbonation and a decent medium sized bubbles head. Leaves an ample lacing.

Very nice nose. I get mostly sweet breadyness (not brains!). Maybe a touch of floral something or other and some mellow esters, but mainly sweet breadyness.

Very nice flavor!! very excited about this one. About as smooth as you can get!! Nice caramel flavors and the breadyness that was so dominant in the nose. Finishes with just a hint of hop bitterness and alcohol warming. Wow! What a beer. I also get some mellow tea flavors, but nothing stands out, no harshness whatsoever! Really tasty.

Exceptional mouthfeel. Really right on. Not too thin, not too thick, just right.

Pretty drinkable, but honestly a little cloying. Kind of gumming up my mouth actually. But I would still do a couple in a sitting if I had them.

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Photo of Travlr
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark muddy brown with a light tan head, disappears slowly leaving very nice lacing. Aroma of dates, raisins and port wine. Flavors of dark fruit and pears, with nutmeg and cinnamon. My favorite of the line - a big beer, complex and balanced. Best candidate for storing for a few years.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This stuff poured alot darker than I thought it would have. A dark copper, caramel like colour. Monster sandy off-white head with real sticky lacing. The smell is very sweet and spicy as is expected from this style. A little raisin like. The taste was really impressive. I thought so, anyway. A lot of candied fruit, brown sugar, cloves and other spice. Very tasty. It did, however, have a little bit more carbonation to it than I expected. This doesn't ruin it for me, but it does prevent me from giving mouth feel a 4.5. Overall, I was quite impressed with this one, and I feel they do a nice job of concealing the 8.0%abv. This stuff doesn't even have the warming sensation many others have. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of daledeee
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love everything I try from St. Bernardus. This one is no exception. I do not understand the rather low ratings for this beer. This is a very fine Belgian.

Pours nice medium head. Settles quickly with good lace. Pretty dark brown. Possibly vanilla and fruit and chocolate mixed in. Really creamy the minute it hits your tongue followed by a good bite. Leaves mouth velvetty and malty. Upfront there is a mixture of fruit and malt. Alchohol is not upfront. Only downfall is a little chemical taste. Not quite as fulfilling as the green(tripel) or blue (abt12) but still excellent. Don't pass any of these up if you have a chance to try

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Photo of stumac
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours up a nice dark brown color with maroon edges when held to the light. fantastic frothy off-white head with great retentive lacing. the nose has wonderful spices, candy sugar (my girl suggests candy red apple), slight alcohol scent, subtle caramel, dark fruits for sure, strawberries, slight dry vanilla as it warms up, smells like a very festive beer! The taste is subtle cocoa, darker malts, subtle sweet malts, darker fruits, plums, very carbonated, dry finish, medium to full bodied, syrupy taste left behind in my mouth. Nice complex brew....thats why I love St. Bernardus..I wonder if its the same beer as St. Sixtus?

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Photo of crwills
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large red wine glass. Pours a deep, opaque chocolate brown, with a bubbly off-white head that's a bit hard to control. Looks rather carbonated. On the dark end of the dubbel spectrum (from my experience at least).

Aroma is bread and wildflowers, clover maybe. Not spring flowers, but dry, summery ones. Some spritzy, lemony notes in there as well as some toasted marshmallow.

Thick, coating mouthfeel, great body. Flavour is very pleasant. Upfront, the bready, doughy flavours common to the style. Lemony notes are not really there in the flavour, or are overwhelmed by darker flavours -- ripe, bittersweet melon, juicy raisins. Moderate carbonation, and a pleasantly pepper-crackery aftertaste.

Probably my favourite of the St. Bernardus beers I've tried (including the Abt 12).

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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Poured into my Chimay chalice. It pours a murky chestnut with a thick, off white head that wants to last forever. The head leaves quite possibly the thickest cascading and lacing I have ever seen.

S-Strong on the Belgian yeast, apple cider, clove, and some chocolate. It smells very malty of course and somewhat spicy.

T-Very close to the nose. Belgian yeast, some apple cider notes, and clove. The slightest hint of chocolate, caramel, and alcohol are also present. The flavor is delicious.

M-While not quite as thick as I expected, it still has a good thickness to it and seems somewhat chewy.

D-This is a sipper due to its complexity and fine craftsmanship, but its abv., while above average for a beer, allows one to consume more than one 11.2 ounce bottle in a sitting.

Overall, this is just another wonderful beer from St. Bernardus. I am sipping this on Christmas night while watching it snow with my wife on the couch and listening to Christmas music, making it a near perfect moment. A beer and moment I will never forget.

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Photo of rye726
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very fine dubbel from St. Bernardus, but I expect nothing less from these merry monks. Pours a rich murky brown with a silky dark tan head. The nose has sweet bready malts, peppery yeasts, chocolate, ripe pitted fruits and subtle hops. The flavor is equally complex, yet perfectly balanced. Rich, full body suits style well. I could enjoy one of these anytime.

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Photo of cdizinno
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 ounce bottle, to traditional Belgian beer chalice with best by date stamped on back 26-12-12(maybe I've popped it open too soon?)

A: Cloudy & very dard brown. Tan head that lingers and leaves heavy lacy.

S: mild chocolate, slightly sweet aroma and ... alcohol.

T&M: Great flavor for this medium bodied tangy ale. Dark malty flavor with light hops. Slightly sweet finish.

Very good ale!

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Photo of Brewfan
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at a bit colder than room temp into my Trappist Rochefort chalace purchased for $3 at BCTC.
Very thick tight off white head that lasted long into the beer. Lots of thick lace that clung like superglue to the side of the glass. After 10 minutes, the head is finally starting to break up.
Murky dark brown/mahogany color.
Nose of candied fruits and biscuits, dates and yeasty banana bread with walnuts. Hint of alcohol towards the end. Gorgeous.
Initial lace is still clinging to the side of the glass from my first sip 10 minutes ago.
Malt and biscuits caramelized sugarplums upon tasting this beer. Home-made sugar cookies with not too much carbonation. Slight bitterness towards the middle of the glass. Velvety smooth mouthfeel, begs to be drank. So me being the gentleman that I am, I happily oblige.
A very well crafted beer. The 8% ABV is hidden well. One I will definately keep on hand for special moments, or just when I want a kick ass dubble.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle purchased somewhere local, most likely. Best by 7/12/06, as noted on bottle.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1 1/2" beige head over the translucent, effervescent burgundy brew. Dense, frothy head ain't going nowhere, and lacing is chunky and prevalent. Aroma is sweet yet spicy, and makes me anticipate the taste, and what more can we really ask for? Taste is sweet at the start, with spices tingling the tastebuds here and there, and this flavor combination fades slowly upon swallowing. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both very nice, going down smooth and creamy, and leaving you anticipating the next mouthful. Very nice offering here.

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Photo of lifeboyq
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tonight's tulip from a 25 oz. corked bomber a creamy off white head with moderate retention and lacing (not up to par with the abt 12 here).

I love the peculiar bready malty fruity sugary smell only found in the St Bernardus 6 8 and 12. It's a beautiful thing. This is a really intriguing warming beer on the nose which presents similarly in the nose and in taste. It lingers on the back of the tongue as well as any beer on the planet. The only flaw to this beer and the other St. Bernardus beers is sometimes you get a slightly oxidized metallic taste. This is from too much oxygen touching the beer post fermentation.

This beer is highly carbonated which is standard for the style which gives it a tingle on the tongue that lingers behind the mouthfeel of a thick liquid just balanced enough to not be cloying but bold enough to stand up to any beer in the world.

This is the best mass produced widely available dubbel in the world and still underrated as the complexities in this beer rival its big brother, the Abt 12 which is THE most underrated beer in the world. The only thing that can compete for the best dubbel in the world is the Westy and this really has more complexities than half of the beers in the top 50.

If you want something that has many levels of complexity, this is a must have but I dont visit it often given it's big brother is my favorite. I had the peche mortel earlier which is a beautiful beer, but even it doesnt touch this beer in complexity. For this reason, Belgian quads are the most interesting beers in the world. The Abt 12's little brother wont let you down though

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Photo of Rayek
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my St Bernardus chalice.

A: The deep copper color has a bit of a haze. The active carbonation I've come to expect from Belgian beers is alive and well. The cream tinged cap is swirling and firm. A mild amount of lace is left in the beer's wake.

S: The nose on this beer sets up the joy that is to come nicely. Spices and dark fruits intermingle as the beer teases the nostrils.

T: As much as I hate acronyms, I had OMG written into my notes twice. Complex is an understatement when it comes to describing the flavor of this beer. Where to begin? Well, every dark fruit I can think of is hiding out here. Plums, currants, black grapes and maybe even a touch of raspberry are at work. They're offset brilliantly by a spicy mix of cinnamon, clove, coriander and a touch of anise. An alcohol warmth mixes with the dark fruits to create a vinous quality throughout the experience. Finishes warm, with lingering spice and dark fruit flavors.

M: The medium body belies the beer's strength. It's somewhat slick and has just the right level of carbonation.

D: I must have been in a really good mood last night. To me, this beer was simply amazing. Rich and complex, I found myself thoroughly enjoying every sip. Abt 12 is up next as the last stop on my St Bernardus beer tour. Prior 8 has set the bar pretty high. Here's hoping 12 can match it.

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Photo of brewsclues
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernie 8 - 750ml bottle.

Beautiful amber brown with a huge head that stayed for about 2 hours.

Nose is awesome: tons of citrus and floral hints, rounded out by soft ripe fruits. Pears, apricots, bread, and clove/cinnamon spice.

Taste: Out of control good. I love the big, bold esters, the pear/apricot hints, and the silky-smooth caramel/light molasses malt backbone. But a ton of the sour fruit feel, which balances the malts well. Actually, there is a lot more of the sour-Flemish feel to it than I was expecting. Gives it a slight, puckering bite.

Mouthfeel: a little bit lighter than I was expecting. Not thin, but a sessionable Dubbel. Quite (and unexpectedly) dry.

Overall: Ahh, St. Bernie. You done good. Real good. I'd reach for this in almost any situation, place, mood, weather, or company.

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Photo of basica
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark amber brown color into my Watou St Bernardus chalice topped with a thick creamy, milky head which reduces to a finger's thickness. Some sediments were evident. (4.5)

S - Strong nose of dark fruits with suggestions of dates, prunes and raisins with notes of caramel and perhaps milk (4.5)

T - The entry was an attack of dark fruits on the palates, predominantly rasins and maybe dates with clear caramel, lactic tastes. Brown sugar sweetness was definitely evident but could've probably been a tad stronger. Finally, a big raisiny finish finds its way into the lasting after taste. (4.5)

M - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation and definitely creamy smoothness and a light warming as it goes down. (4.5)

D - As with most premium Belgian brew the alcohol is well-disguised and the flavor is amazing with a very notable smoothness. Definitely an impressive Dubbel that I could never have enough of. (5)

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Photo of Rukeli76
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle with a solid year of age on it. Served in a tulip at cellar temperature.

Slightly hazy mahogany colour. Classic four inches of persistent foamy head. Tons and tons of lacing.

Nice juicy ripe fruit aroma. A little vanilla. Slightly tannic. Almost like red wine.

Nice sweet and earthy malt flavour, almost like brown sugar or a hint of blackstrap molasses. Bread dough. Lots of varied spicy yeast esters. Maybe gingerbread is the comparison I'm looking for here. Whatever it is I'm loving it.

Nice mouthfeel. Active yeast. Just a little boozy warmth on the finish.

This is right up there with Chimay and Westmalle. A world-class dubbel for sure.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a dark brown color with a dinosuaric white head. The aroma is fantastic. Dark fruits, spices, cloves. The first thing noticable about the taste is how refreshing it is. After that it is sweet, fruity, slitghly nutty. The mouthfeel is meduim-full bodied with tons of carbonation. Overalll, this is a very, very good brew.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: A very familiar looking label design on the now equally familiar low slung neck 11.2 fl.oz (33cl) brown glass bottle. Says Drink before end of 2004 on the labels side writing, yet the row of numbers, 0-9, on the bottom of the label is nicked at the 1, 2, 6 and 8 mark??!?!?
Erm….best before – sometime later.

Appearance: Perfect, just an amazing presentation – so good I took a photograph of it. Deep dark brown body, clear buy only partially lucid. The head has incredible smooth looks and awesome staying powers – it’s a Stud of a beer, ironic for Abbey style beer don’t you think?!

Nose: What a nightcap! Raisins, currants, nuts, dark berries, caramel, toffee and chocolate. Its all here – wrapped up in an aroma bomb but neatly packaged like a firework so that it explodes in all the right places at the right times. Excellent conditioning and immensely impressive odors.

Taste: Rich chocolate is hidden amongst a bed of warming clean flannelette sheets of dark malts. Thick raisin laden Garibaldi biscuits and malty oats linger in the middle. Light chocolate coffee with a vanilla flavored milk ending. But the next mouthful tastes so different. Like a 10 screen Cinema complex- this beer could keep you entertained for hours.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, silky smooth and yet always complex. Light warming alcohol in the back end, packs a punch for the unbelievers!

Drinkability: Easily quaffed in a pleasant “gone before you know it way”. Complex, yet always inviting – a classic brew. Drinks exceptionally well.

Overall: Not a Trappist, as was proffered when it was sold under the St.Sixtus label prior to 1992 (which got the Brewery into trouble). Why they did this - is anyone business, maybe for dumb Americans (joke!). I say this because Brouwerij St. Bernardus can stand on its own two feet any day of the week as far as I am concerned – NO it’s NOT Trappistes, and Chimay is!!! So there, that’s sorted then – it’s official, you’ve don’t have to be a Trappistes Brewery to make better beer than Abbey Notre Dame de Scourmont, oops sorry, forgive me father for I have sinned!, I was obviously referring to the commercial arm of the Abbey, I of course meant to say Bieres de Chimay!!!

A Trappist beer for Atheists! EXCELLENT. No wonder the Monk on the label has a friggin’ smile on his face; he needs to loose the James Brown threads though!

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Photo of cnally
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I swear it, if I ever see this damn monk, I'm gonna punch him in the face to wipe that smirk off.

The appearance is a deep cloudy pond water brown, a tan head with perky bubbles and no lacing.

Aromas of dark fruits, lightly toasted malt and those wild and crazy belgain yeasts.

The flavor is divine. A super even-keeled malty sugar bomb, but not too sweet of course. A nice mild bitterness fills in the cracks between the brandy-caramel-plum flavorings, and the finish is smooth and warming.

The feel is what you'd expect from this style, zippy and bubbly, but not too much.

An amazingly welcoming even delicious heavenly brew, straight from the hands of that goddamn monk. No wonder the prick is smiling.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my De Garre snifter from an 11.2 bottle

Pours a unique looking greyish brown, slightly opaque, with a nice two finger eggshell head. Great lacing.

A big aroma of cream, like I dove into a bottle of half and half. This is a bit of fruit esters, but it is very light and not overdone.

The cream is back again, but it seems chocolate is the biggest flavor. As the beer warms the fruits come out a bit. It has the characteristic Belgian flavor of dark fruit and dried figs. A faint bitterness emerges near the end as well.

The carbonation is fairly high yet not prickly. The beer still seems very full bodied.

A very nice beer. It manages to be extremely full flavored yet very smooth. I will have to try Westy 8 again, but as I recall I like this beer much better.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chimay goblet.

A: Dark, a rich black colour with a head that fades slowly to a small layer of foam.

S: A very fresh smell, reminding me of summer, but with the addition of rich dark fruits.

T: I get malts first that quickly start to compete with a hoppy taste which adds some bitterness and the whole thing mellows out as you swallow. A salty cheese and onion flavour emerges and puzzles me before I realise I have dropped a crisp into the glass...

Overall a very good brew, mellow yet complex and a pleasure to drink. Addition of cheese and onion crisp not recommended.

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Photo of geokills
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pouring a slightly opaque rusty brown and giving birth to two solid fingers of lively head (could be considerably more, depending on your pour!). Settling down with light lacing, featuring a thin lingering cap of tan foam throughout the full imbibe. This beautiful concoction throws off some fruity esters, a sweet almost candy-like malt aroma. Alcohol present but well controlled amidst hints of chocolate and caramel. This one goes down smooth and delicious, somewhat sweet, warm and very easy to drink. Well done Bernardus!

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,412 ratings.
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